Friday, July 8, 2016

Just people: Human journey vs. Race

It's a weighty word. 

  1. each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.
    "people of all races, colors, and creeds"
    synonyms:ethnic group, racial type, origin, ethnic origin, color
    "students of many different races
    • the fact or condition of belonging to a racial division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this.

  2. Or......

  1. Race
    a competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.

    2.a strong or rapid current flowing through a narrow channel in the sea or a river.

    3.a groove, channel, or passage, in particular.

Division? competition?
It's pretty simple. There is nothing uniting or intrinsically peaceful no matter which definition you lean toward.

 They both, to great extent, imply dominance, hierarchy, division and self-promotion; resulting in, the inevitable- envy, hatred, pride, and covetousness, to name a few.

This verse comes to mind:

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy...

Because ,yes, Satan is manipulating mankind to perpetuate race and it's effects: 
The stealing of joy in brotherhood, the killing of peace, and the destruction of unity is all we can get from the word "RACE"- and that especially when attributed to human kind.

I think the word race in relation to humankind needs to be done away with. 
Because it's not a race. Not even, (an expression I've used myself), "one human race."
Its simply people. 

It's people on a human journey
And the journey is one from self-actualization to God-actualization. 
In the journey of people there will be diverse cultural encounters. But it's not a race. 
There will be a variety of environmental conditions, yet it's not a race

Humanity was divided (first from God then one another) because of idolatrous motives- trying to get to heaven by our own devices. 
Think Cain and Abel...tower of Babel...
And since then, sin-born divisions of people have competed for dominance and supremacy.
It was never God's plan for humanity to be divided. It was the enemy's plan. 
God, the Father of all creation, knows he is the only being, as our Father, to unite mankind.
This is why he came in the form of a man, appealing to all humanity across cultural differences to come to him and be redeemed. He wants us redeemed from the lie of "the race" back to the journey of relationship with Him.

Until we understand this, and stop trying to compete for acknowledgement and get back to simply acknowledging the Father from where we all came, division-producing confusion, misunderstanding, fear, and hatred will continue.
Yet we do have a hope. One day, all people will unify before the one unifying force- God Himself. 
Yes, every knee and every tongue.

10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.[c] 11 For it is written:
As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”[d]
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
-Romans 14

Change starts with one. Be a one. Abandon the race. Nix the competition and the cultural wars. Join in on the journey. One people. No race.

Suffer the little children: When Children experience death

What comes to the mind at the word child?

Young. Innocent. No cares. Small. Precious. Energetic. Lively. Naive. 

Maybe you thought of some others. 
What about death?
What about grief?

Not so much, huh?

And when you are faced with coming to grips with a grieving son or daughter, a grieving sibling or grandchild, or even a grieving little friend, the instinct to save them from the experience completely is hard to ignore. When children lose a sibling, a cousin, or a close friend we want to protect them from hurt and make the heavy weight of grief go away. One would even wish to take all their pain on themselves just so such a young soul does not have to bear the load.

But journey back  with me to a scene on a  day when Jesus is surrounded by adults wanting to get their needs met. At some point there is a noticeable stirring, perhaps, at the outer edge of the crowd. The tension and voices begin to escalate. Jesus realizes what is happening. There are people trying to get through to Him. But this is different. While  many people pushed through crowds to get to Jesus for themselves, here were individuals wanting to get, not themselves, but little children to The Good Shepherd.
Jesus speaks up and says, "Let the children come to me. Do not stop them."
And you know what he did next, he laid his hands on them.

See these people bringing the children, whether parents or older siblings, caretakers, etc, realized something. When they witnessed the impact Christ had on all those who came in contact with him, they discovered there was no comfort as comforting as that of Jesus. They realized there was no remedy that could soothe as much as Jesus could. This group brought their children to Jesus because they acknowledged their own limitations. I can't save my child from this, but I know who can.

Why is Jesus so qualified to comfort?

He willingly submitted to physical torture to make sure we would have certain healing.
He was punished to make us whole again.
    His wounds have healed us.- Isaiah 53:5
He promised that he is an available friend and will come to us and comfort us when we are in trouble. 
That friend is the Spirit of truth. The world can’t accept him. That’s because the world does not see him or know him. But you know him. He lives with you, and he will be in you. 18 I will not leave you like children who don’t have parents. I will come to you.- john 14:17-18
So what do we do,  when we have run out of options it seems for our grieving little one?
We bring them to Jesus, and let Him touch their little hearts, like only he can.

 Here are a few tips to bringing your grieving little one to Jesus:

 1. Read to them, kid friendly verses dealing with comfort, peace, rest, and faith. I have pasted a few below as a start.

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (NIV).
Philippians 4:5-7 Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood. 
2. Pray with them. Don't just tell them to pray, do it with them.
3. Don't avoid the subject. Talk with them about the loved one who died. Share memories and let them know you are hurting too. Help them write a letter to Jesus about their loved one. Let them express their true feelings of confusion, anger, fear, or even relief. David did, and we have an entire book (Psalms) to prove it.
4. Remember it's a process, and as a believer we know that God's grace is enough to walk through this valley. Yet there is peace in the valley, so don't rush them through the grieving process. Walk with them.
5. Pray often for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and let he Holy Spirit intercede on your behalf especially when you don't know what to pray.
6.Be patient.
7. Start a discourse with someone at your local church. You'll be surprised at the others who are waiting to open up about their own experience.

While this is not in anyway exhaustive I hope it is a start to helping your grieving little one do so in a healthy way. They and you will get through this. No doubt you'll both be impacted for the rest of your lives by the loss, but the valley is a through-point. It's not the destination. God is with you, and he wants the little ones to rest in that.
Know Jesus
Know Peace
No Jesus, no peace.